Before booking your holiday, do your research on frequent flyer programs. Frequent flyer programs help because you can sometimes get free flights, free upgrades, free lounge passes which could come in handy for those long flights, as well free baggage allowance among other benefits. The idea is for you to do your research and find a loyalty program that best suits your needs. For me I would be interested in getting free flights and free baggage allowance compared to the free lounge pass, for example, because I know that when I travel, I always want to buy something during the trip, however I find it hard to pack ‘light’ so that I leave room for the things I will buy during the trip. If you live far away from the rest of the world such as Melbourne in Australia (this place is far from everything ! ) then free flights would be more ideal as they can cost you an arm and a leg. Make the most of that frequent flyer program. If available, find out what other businesses that frequent flyer program is linked to, for example, supermarkets; petrol stations; stationary etc. The more places your program is linked to, the more chances you can earn points and accumulate them much faster. For me, I am Qantas Frequent Flyer member and my membership is linked to my credit card. So every time I spend on my credit card, regardless of the merchant and whether they are affiliated with the program or not, I earn points (a post on how to live with a credit card and use it to your advantage will be coming soon and is part of my financial freedom series).
When travelling, the most expensive item during your trip could be paying for unseen unfortunate events such as losing your travel documents (very common) or having to seek medical attention due to an illness or an accident. Yet travel insurance can be a pain in the butt if nothing happens during the trip, if you do not have it, it could devastate you even long after you have returned from your trip. The good thing is that many credit card providers now provide complementary travel insurance, for example, if you book your holiday and pay for it using that particular credit card. Find out from your credit card provider if they have such a product as this could save you the couple of hundred dollars that you would have to pay for a separate travel insurance. Beware however of the inclusions within that complementary travel insurance. You want to make sure that you’re covered 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, where ever you are in the world.
Accommodation will be the one of your biggest expenses after your flights, therefore you want to make sure that you really invest a lot of time searching for your accommodation. Book in advance before prices increase. This will also help you with planning your itinerary because you have an idea of where you will be and for how long, and you can use the cost of your accommodation as a guide. For example, I knew that I wanted to see Madrid, however the accommodation and food in general was more expensive when compared to the south of Spain, therefore I spent the least amount of time in Madrid and only booked accommodation for one day, however in that one day I managed to see the main parts of the city. Another way that I saved money was by staying with friends. This was great because not only did I save on accommodation, but you also get to have detailed guide on how the people live in that area among other great benefits. If you do not have any friends or family, then contacting the hotel directly (after using the website to check for price comparison), is another great way to take advantage of special promotions. By calling, sometimes the hotel can take advantage of specials and promotions that you might have missed on the website. Before booking the place where I stayed in Almeria, I called the reception and had a good conversation with the lady. After chatting for some time she gave me a further discount on the already discounted price and she also threw in extras like a flexible check out time, because I explained to her my travel plans and she was willing to accommodate my plans. Finally, when booking accommodation, try and find places that have extra benefits such as free breakfast; free city tours; free activities etc. This will help you save money.
While on holiday, life back home continues, therefore it is essential that you ensure that bills will still be paid while you’re away. You can do this by renting out your place for the duration of your trip. This really helped me to have a stress free trip because not only did I not have to worry about bills and rent, I also had piece of mind that I would find all my property when I got back because there would be someone at home, therefore reducing the risk of a robbery. Another great way to make sure you have enough money when you come back, is to rent out your car or your car parking space. It may not be thousands of dollars but every bit counts.
I hope you find these tips very helpful, they are tried and tested and will help you enjoy your trip that much more!